Well, nobody told me that there's a "May Day" or, "Great American Boycott Day" or, "Labor Day." on May 1st. I came to learn that in a very bad way: standing by the school campus, awaiting my one-hour late bus, exchanging silent looks with other frustrated waiters. The time clicking closer to the deadline in which I should pick my child from daycare. I call my husband, and he does not answer because he's in the midst of an exam. I msm him as the clock ticks some more.
Accross the street somebody shouts real loud, and a crowd cheers. More shouting, and cheering. I listen closer, and hear words of "freedom" "Liberty" "Rights". To my ears, they sound like a badly montaged old movie. "Why would someone in America be shouting that stuff?" I ask myself. "And why on earth would the crowd be overly excited?"
The clock is still ticking. Anger pumps up my confidence so I ask the person next to me, "Which bus are you waiting for?" Mine! "This guys is waiting for it too, we have not missed it. It's just this..march that's delaying things!"
A march! I take out my cellphone and dial the Tri-Met number. Yes, there are delays and detours on this line/route today. Why didn't anyone tell me earlier, damn it? Now, there are only 30 minutes before my baby's daycare closes up. He has no one else in the world to pick him. The bus, which takes 45 minutes to drop me at my destination, is now useless. I call a cab.
For the first time, even the cab line is busy. I wait for 2 minutes. Hello? I am given an estimate of $25. But that's not all! I am not the only downtown Portland stranded customer, there's a long line of desperate people. That means, I will have to wait 15 minutes before the cab arrives! My useless bus arrives, but I let it pass.
From accross the street, the crowd cheers and hoots some more. "What if they hear themselves?" I wonder. "They sound like a large number of caged animals, roaring and howling in one little spot." Groups of orange and yellow bycyclists criss cross from both sides of the streets. They are the enemy now! The more they cross, the more cars have to be delayed, my cab, and...my baby!
Finally, the savior! My husband calls, and I tell him to hurry over. I call off the cab. 10 minutes later, with smoking nerves I ride next to my husband cursing that march. "Come on, marching isn't that bad. Didn't you just love the one in Vancouver, B.C? And took pictures of that organized form of freedom of expression?"
"Huh? Ah! Yeah, but..." But he was right. Marches aren't that bad. Especially if they don't happen near PSU, on rush-hour, or around bus stops, causing students to be late for a job, or lose more than 20 bucks over a cab or a daycare penalty... They are rather pleasant when you are in the convenience of your own transportation, knowing that you will not be late for your child.